Publisher: Titan Comics
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Colorist: Brad Simpson
Letterer: Andworld Design
Release Date: 27 July 2022
On sale next week, The Lady of the Lanterns is the latest chapter in Titan Comics’ ongoing foray into the world of FromSoftware’s smash hit video game Bloodborne. This is an entirely self-contained four-part story that takes a look at the haunting legend of the ‘Lantern Lady’, the eldritch abomination which, in the form of the ‘Winter Lantern’, is widely regarded as the most terrifying, menacing and utterly frustrating foe in the game.
I absolutely love the pacing here, with the gradual ramping up of the tension between our two young siblings as they anxiously await the return of their father, who has foolishly ventured out on the night of The Hunt in search of food. Piotr Kowalski – who is himself something of a Bloodborne veteran, having illustrated all three volumes of Titan’s previous series’ – does a great job of bringing these moments to the page, and his depiction of the youngsters’ gradually diminishing food supplies (which you can feast your eyes on below) really helps to set the uncomfortable tone for the remainder of the issue.
Brad Simpson and AndWorld Design help to round out the visual package, with the former bathing everything in murky blues and oranges, and the latter doing a fantastic job of making the limited dialogue land as well as it does – not to mention delivering the haunting ‘Lady of the Lantern’ nursery rhyme with a real flair.
We also get to meet a badly-injured Hunter (is there really any other kind?) who stumbles into the siblings’ home in search of sanctuary, but who inadvertently drags the horrors of the streets of Yharnam right to their doorstep. Series writer Cullen Bunn clearly has a well-established horror pedigree, but can sometimes fall into the trap of trying to do too much. Thankfully then, aside from an up-close-and-personal skirmish with a hulking Scourge Beast and a couple of flashback sequences, the bulk of the horror here is psychological, which is definitely a wise approach when tackling a franchise like Bloodborne.
The final pages see the legend of the Lady of the Lanterns’ influence arrive in truly terrifying fashion, and sets the table for what promises to be a fraught journey out into the horrifying streets of the city.
All in all, this is yet another cracking adaptation of the source material from the folks at Titan. Translating the creeping unease of the hugely popular video game to the printed page was never going to be easy, but in the hands of Bunn (and Ales Kot before him) and Kowalski, Titan keep hitting the mark time and time again. Captures the haunting tone of the game so vividly you can almost hear that accursed melody playing in the background while you read.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]